Your child's skin is soft and sensitive. So choose comfortable baby clothes, without environmental toxins or rough details. Several layers of clothing means you can regulate their temperature, so they don't get too hot or cold.
At the beginning, most people buy size 50-56, clothes that can be worn for about 2 weeks. Your child can wear a size 60 or 62 for a bit longer, so it can be a good idea to ask for that size from relatives and friends who want to bring presents. Click here for a sizing chart of the various ages and some good laundry advice.
Things to bear in mind when buying baby clothes:
• Always wash newly bought clothes before use. It helps reduce the toxin content that can usually be found in newly produced clothes.
• Avoid buying baby clothes with rubbery prints, as they can contain toxic plasticisers, also known as phthalates. Plastic prints that contain phthalates usually feel soft and rubbery. Make sure your child doesn't get hold of or suck on this type of fabric print.
• Choose organic, eco-labelled or Swan-labelled products when buying something new.
• Buying second hand children's clothes is great. Second hand clothes are good for the environment and contain fewer chemicals. They are soft and cosy, as they've already been used and washed a few times.
• Choose clothes that are easy to remove for nappy changes, for example, trousers or romper suits that open at the crotch.
• Buy tops and romper suits that are easy to pull over your child's head, with plenty of room at the collar where the fabric overlaps.
• Avoid clothes with zips or big buttons that touch your child's skin. Pyjamas from some other countries usually button up the back, which can be uncomfortable for your child if they usually sleep on their back.
How to check if your child is too hot or too cold
As your child's inner thermostat isn't fully developed for the first few years, he or she may have trouble regulating their own body temperature. A baby who is dressed too warmly, for example, when you are pushing the pram around indoors, won't be comfortable. They'll get cranky and could break out in a red, temporary heat rash.
Check your child's temperature by placing your hand on their neck. If their neck feels hot, the child is fine. Remove a layer of clothes or fold down the blanket in the pram if their neck feels sweaty.
If it's cold out, check their tiny fingers every now and then, even if they're inside mittens.
Never warm frozen fingers using warm water, hold them in your warm hands or under your arm if you're also cold. The tip of your child's nose is also easily affected by the cold and wind, and it's difficult to cover up! So don't be outside too long when it's really cold.
Hats protect from wind and draughts
If it's wintertime or cold during the first few months of your little baby's life, it can be a good idea to have a decent hat. But even if it's the summer, put a lightweight cotton hat on your baby when they're outside for the first six months, it protects them from the wind and draughts. A chin strap tie is a good idea, hats easily slip off to one side, or down over their eyes, when your baby turns their head. Once your child is a little older, they might discover the joy of pulling their hat off, if it doesn't have a strap to keep it in place. But don't tie the chin strap too hard, it shouldn't cut into their skin.
A sunhat with a decent-sized brim or peak is perfect for bright summer days, at least for children who can sit up and benefit from the brim. But remember that your child should never sit in direct sunlight.
Shoes, socks or booties?
Shoes aren't necessary until your child starts walking and standing. Sure, it can be fun to buy a pair of teeny tiny trainers, but they're not as comfortable as socks or booties, as long as your child is sitting in their pram.
The best thing is for your child to learn to walk barefoot, indoors, or outside when the seasons allow. That way, all of the foot's muscles develop naturally. Their first shoes should fit well and be made from a breathable material. They should be wide and soft at the toe, have non-slip soles and be rigid at the heel, to provide support for the foot.